Last week the great pyramids of Giza saw 1,500 children, youth, officials and media representatives take part in a public stand against the destruction of heritage. The stand, rallied for by the UNESCO and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, comes within UNESCO’s #Unite4Heritage programme which primarily targets Arab countries.
UNESCO says the #Unite4Heritage campaign uses the power of social networks to create a global movement with young people for them to raise their voice and take action for the safeguarding of heritage under threat and to provide a counter-narrative to sectarian propaganda in Arab countries and elsewhere. The #Unite4Heritage campaign was launched in Egypt last May from the Museum of Islamic Art by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “I can hardly think of a better place than Egypt to deliver this message of peace which is embedded in cultural heritage”, said the Director-General as she launched the campaign from Egypt earlier this year. The campaign comes in response to the unprecedented attack on the region’s cultural diversity and heritage, Ghaith Fariz, Director of the UNESCO regional bureau pointed out.
“When violent extremists say humanity is not a single community that shares values, when they say world heritage doesn’t exist, when they say pre-Islamic heritage is idolatry, when they say that diversity is dangerous, that tolerance and dialogue are unacceptable — we must respond. We must respond by showing that exchange and dialogue between cultures are the driving force of all history. We must show that diversity has always been and remains today a source of strength for all societies,” Bokova said as she first launched the campaign in Baghdad last March.
Egyptian star and Unite4Heritage envoy in Egypt, Laila Eloui explained that since the launch of the campaign in Egypt last May several awareness events and workshops were organised in different Egyptian schools and museums to raise awareness of the importance of heritage preservation. “We aim today to awaken the conscience of humanity, for the world to rise and confront the attacks against our cultural, human and religious heritage,” Eloui said from the Giza pyramids.
The event which was attended by UNESCO Regional Bureau in Egypt Ghaith Fariz, Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and President of the Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO Ashraf al Sheehy along with renowned Egyptian actress Laila Eloui. It also featured a number of diverse cultural activities, such as the enthralling folkloric Tannoura whirling Dervish dance.
8 December 2015